Did Keanu Neal Save Todd Bowles’ Job?

December 6th, 2022

Bone-crushing ways paid off.

It was 3rd-and-17 last night and the Saints lined up on their 18 yard line to just about lock down a win with a first down. There was 2:47 on the clock and the Bucs had one timeout in their pocket.

Joe nearly vomited when the snap came and the Bucs only rushed three at Saints quarterback Andy Dalton and dropped their defense into zone coverage.

Ugly results often come when the Bucs play zone, which is not their strength.

Sure enough, Dalton had plenty of time in the pocket and threw a strike to Taysom Hill 25 yards past the line of scrimmage. The throw went over Lavonte David’s head, Jamel Dean was beaten two steps from Hill, and the only hope was for safety Keanu Neal to make a play from centerfield on wide open Hill.

And Neal made the play. He lowered his head and drilled Hill in the gut as he hauled in the ball. It squirted to the ground and the Saints had to punt while the Bucs kept their final timeout in their pocket.

Neal made the huge play. If he doesn’t, there’s a strong chance Bucs fans everywhere are coming down on Bowles for not blitzing Dalton on 3rd-and-17, and for not heeding Tom Brady’s plea to go for it on fourth down earlier in the fourth quarter.

Instead, Bowles gets the mad genius label and Brady’s praise after a thrilling “W.” And general manager Jason Licht gets an assist for having Neal on the roster as a backup safety. Neal, the former Pro Bowler, is known for his bone-crushing hits and his style paid off when it mattered most.

Joe’s going to say Andrew Adams doesn’t make that play.

54 Responses to “Did Keanu Neal Save Todd Bowles’ Job?”

  1. Jack Sparrow Says:

    Totally agree!. I think that was the main play that gave us the momentum.

  2. Youngbucs Says:

    Joe don’t disrespect Andrew Adams he made big plays in many gms for us. You better check yo sheets!!!

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There is no way we should be allowing a 25 yard pass on 3rd & 17…….with the heavy blitz, Dalton would have to throw a shorter pass…..

    Neal just may have not only saved Bowles’ job…..he saved our season….

    Hats off to Keano…….well done!!!

  4. SKBucsFan Says:

    That play made his night. Maybe his career as a Buc. He was not stellar out there otherwise.

  5. Panhandle Buc Says:

    That was game changing…w/o it, we lose any opportunity for the comeback! I hate soft zone!

  6. Fun Guy Says:


  7. Infomeplease Says:

    After last night, Bowles still should be fired!!! He is a poor head coach!! He should be fired as head coach and rehired as defensive coordinator. That’s what he is! That’s all he is!! IMO!!

  8. Paratrooper Buc Says:

    A LOT of players saved Todd Bowles job. From Neal to Otton to Jones to Scotty to Brady and so on and so forth. When Aikman and Buck as well as other analysts say “Bucs offense is better when Brady is in charge” means he saved Leftwich’s job as well. Defense is amazing but our Offense is the biggest issue mostly with the Oline because Brady is rushing throws or going with first option and throwing before checking the field. Next is receivers need to make catches. This team is so infuriating because offense is garbage for stretches at a time then we click and can do two TDs in 5 mins. It’s game 12 and we are still not consistent while other teams are humming along. I feel we need to win at least 4 out of the next 5 to make the playoffs and be playoff ready. Offense needs consistency.

  9. brooks Says:


  10. Buc4evr Says:

    Yeah he saved TB’s job until next week. I hope the Bucs do something about the offensive play calling this week. No huddle a lot more throughout the game and let Brady make the calls.

  11. The Graham Tram Says:

    Amazing hit.

    Ingram running out of bounds (for no reason) helped save clock as well and made Bowles’ punt decision look better than it was.

  12. Jack Sparrow Says:

    Bowles and Leftwich are the 2 anchors that is tied to the Bucs neck. Unless we release those 2 anchors, this ship will go nowhere.

  13. Lamarcus Says:

    I believe Bowles sticking to punting overriding Brady on 4th and 10 saved the day. Not making it and then they at least got a field goal would have sealed us.

  14. HookDoc47 Says:

    Fist off I’ll say that I’m overjoyed we beat the Slimy Saints. I will also admit that at half time I thought we were throwing this one away again too. Bowles needs to be let go as as a HC. I can’t stand how inept he comes off as. I love the fact that our two minute drill was on point in this game.

  15. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Brady snatched victory from the jaws of er bowle er um defeat!

  16. K2 Says:

    This team doesn’t play to win! On the first drive, they did not make one pass to the end-zone. They tried to be cute and it cost too much. The GO FOR IT mentality left with Arians. The Bucs have too much talent to play as bad as they do! Yes, even with all the injuries.

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    It’s taken me awhile, but I think I’m beginning to understand.

    If Bowles blitzes on a 1st & 10 with 27 seconds left in the game and his defense gets burned, he’s a terrible coach.

    If he doesn’t blitz on 3rd & 17 with 2:47 left and his defense survives without getting burned, he’s lucky.

    Got it.

  18. kyle Says:

    Neals best game as a buc. The kid was all over the field

  19. Greg Says:

    That play was the game winner, no doubt.

  20. Couch Fan Says:

    All he did was postpone the inevitable. If Todd isnt fired by the end of this season, he’ll be fired next season. He is a terrible HC and we are going nowhere with him. Not even the GOAT can save this man.

  21. robert Says:

    well, at least I only need to watch 2 drives from last night.

    10 minutes in I turned it off. snooze fest.

  22. Erik Hesson | Fine Artist | Founder of UniqueModernArt.com Says:

    This dude is a Thumper!

    And guess what???!? He’s apparently smart too!

    Great technique, Keanu!

    Most of safeties here in the party would NOT have made a Clean, Game-saving play there and would’ve been either flagged for a dirty hit or not been aggressive enough to knock the ball out.

    We need more of this type of play from Everyone.

    Smart, Aggressive, Clean Execution is what will propel us to Greatness. Nothing less will do.

  23. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    I don’t know about that. I’ve read interviews with experienced QBs and it seems most prefer you to blitz because it opens up the field. We weren’t exactly getting to Dalton anyway, blitz or no.

  24. Erik Hesson | Fine Artist | Founder of UniqueModernArt.com Says:

    safeties of the *past

  25. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    I’m not expecting them to fire Bowles after one season. I would be happy with that, but certainly not expecting it and I don’t know where you got that. I think this goes in the bin with Davis is a top 10 corner, Johnny Football is awesome and Jameis is a superstar quarterback.

  26. Tee Says:

    The defense has kept us in almost every game this year. The defense loves Bowles. I’m not quick to want him fired because no telling who the heck we get after he is gone. Most of the issues reside on this offense.

  27. Eckwood Says:

    Yes !!

  28. rsjcheapseats Says:

    DR – took the words right out of my mouth.

    Sports writer types are all the same. It is hysterical.

  29. Bucamania Says:

    And the best part… it was on Taysom Hill the Buc killer.

  30. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I don’t think Bowles will be fired after 1 year……what will be interesting is if Brady comes back……and what happens to BL…

    I think if Brady doesn’t return…..BL will be fired and BA will be retired. Bowles will hire a new OC…..and we will start a rebuild.

    We are in total cap hell next year…..may be forced to go with Trask or draft a 1st round rookie QB…..

  31. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Bowles did nothing last night to warrant saving his job as HC. He’s very good at defense (most of the time), but he sucks at game management. Face it. We’re stuck with him through the ‘23-‘24 season. Which means we’re stuck with Leftnut, too.

  32. Pewter Power Says:

    Yeah he did, I hat was the perfect throw and it was caught. If he hadn’t knocked the ball loose that was a well deserved L. Coaching malpractice and no way he should coach us next year unless angling for top draft pick like Lovie.

    Deion sanders could do a better job. Dirk koetter could win more games with Brady

  33. Kentucky Buc Says:

    DR. I see your point but big difference between Stafford and Dalton although maybe not so much this year.

  34. Darin Says:

    If that mess saved someone’s job the glazers have low expectations.

  35. Bucanero Says:

    A man honoring his contract. Neal showed up to work

  36. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    This dude is a hard hitter. Ronnie Lott, like.

  37. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    I should add: I saw a #22 flying in on a play, and didn’t even know he was.
    Guess I’ve not been paying attention.

  38. Defense Rules Says:

    Kentucky Buc … I agree there’s a big difference between the two, but the point behind that was more along the lines that far too many today jump to emotional decisions about others (and yet ignore their own faux pas).

    One of the things that I loved about my career as a pilot in the military was that we were allowed to make mistakes (and Lord knows I made lots of them, especially in air combat roles). But that’s how you learn JUDGMENT and thus gradually improve. I’ll be the first to admit that some didn’t learn very well, and guess what, they ultimately found employment elsewhere (to a different type of aircraft usually).

    Same applies to coaches IMO. Todd Bowles is no dummy, and for some to call him an ‘idiot’ or ‘cowardly’ tells me more about them than it does about him. It’s unfortunate that’s what we’ve evolved to in far too many instances in our great nation.

  39. DG060 Says:

    Bowles will NEVER learn from his mistakes. He basically went into a prevent defense on the play. What happens every single time we employ that garbage strategy?

  40. Your Mom Says:

    My fear is that a 6-11 Bucs team will look back and realize this game could have gotten a loser head coach and a loser OC fired today and still kept a chance at the playoffs.

    Or maybe they win out and all that worry is for nothing.


  41. BuxfaninTX Says:

    Dean was beaten on a route by a QB?

  42. Defense Rules Says:

    BuxfaninTX … Dean was beaten on several routes last night. Looked to me like he was going about 3/4 speed on each one. Very uncharacteristic of him. I suspect that he’s hurting but with all the others out, he just sucked it up.

  43. Tye Says:

    the verdict on Bowles is in an abundantly clear… He is among the worst of the worst as HC!

    The Bucs did not win last night because of Bowles but in spite of…

  44. Jeffs Dad Says:

    Just another 3rd and really long that was real close to being completed and that close to being 5-7

  45. D-Rok Says:

    Don’t know if anyone’s job was saved, but that was a HUGE play for us. Like others have said, perfect timing for it in the game, and perfect technique. That was clutch. Kudos to Neal.

  46. Boltsfan17 Says:

    I sincerely hope that play doesn’t keep Bowles here after this season. This is a bad team with bad coaches and one play can’t change that.

  47. Frank Pillow Says:

    I hope not. Every facet of game-day decision making leading up to that hit/play was like Todd was begging to be fired. Ownership should obliged him.

  48. sasquatch Says:

    That “win” is really a loss with lipstick on it. BowlesWich should be looking for work at the end of this shameful season.

  49. Nick2 Says:

    We lose without that play.

  50. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Youngbucs Says:
    “Joe don’t disrespect Andrew Adams he made big plays in many gms for us. You better check yo sheets!!!”

    I’m with you. Neal is a monster in run support. This is the first big play I remember from him in the passing game. Adams seemed to be a really well rounded backup, who I liked a lot.

  51. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    The Graham Tram Says:
    “Ingram running out of bounds (for no reason) helped save clock as well and made Bowles’ punt decision look better than it was.”

    My mouth hung open when I saw Ingram run out of bounds there, short of the marker. It gave me flashbacks to RoJo.

  52. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Lamarcus Says:
    “I believe Bowles sticking to punting overriding Brady on 4th and 10 saved the day.”

    Yeah, that was really a no-brainer given the time left and distance to go. I would have been surprised if we actually did go for it. I think Brady was a little bit over his skis there.

  53. Izod Says:

    If Bowles is still around next year, I will not watch any games.

    It should be clear now he is a VERY below avg HC–and that would be at the NFL or high school level.

  54. Bucschamp Says:

    he did save Tod “no Balls” bowles